Yvonne Romain

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Yvonne Romain Pencil Portrait
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Last update: 12/3/15

Despite her exotic looks and French name, Yvonne Romain is a born and bred Londoner.

Fondly remembered by fans of the Hammer horror series of the 50’s and 60’s, she has been married to the Oscar winning composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse since 1958. A near sixty year marriage in Tinseltown is a rarity in itself, and some explanation can be found in her decision to turn down a seven year contract with the director Frederico Fellini, as it would have meant spending considerable time in Rome away from her Hollywood based husband and little son. Once based in the US, she gradually moved away from the film business.

She starred opposite Sean Connery in two of his pre-007 movies, and her stunning 38-22-36 figure would have made her an ideal Bond girl. As it was, she would move onto star with Oliver Reed as his mother in Curse of the Werewolf,’ his fiancĂ©e in Captain Clegg,’ before sharing her third and final screen appearance with him in her last Hammer outing The Brigand of Kandahar.’

Today, at 77, she can be occasionally seen at Film memorabilia fairs, in addition to supporting her husband at his various musical events.


Yvonne spoke with Jonathan Sothcott, an independent film producer and cult film author for “Bite me” magazine.

Your horror debut was in Dick Gordon’s Corridors of Blood.

That was the first time I met Christopher Lee, he had to rape me in the film. The continuity girl made a mistake and he came at me wearing this funny top hat, and we had to do the scene with him in the hat for continuity. Added to that, of course, we had to keep one foot on the floor to keep the censor happy. So he was trying to rape me with his top hat and one foot on the floor, as you can imagine that was really sexy!

What was Boris Karloff like?

He was wonderful, his name was legendary. They said they were sending me a car to pick me up and I lived in Stanmore which was a very foggy sort of area. So there, at six o’clock in the morning, sitting in the back of this great big hearse-like car was Boris Karloff, saying ‘Come in,’ but he was actually very sweet.

Then you made Circus of Horrors

There were lots of lovely girls in that film. We all had a great time. We were in these horrible caravans and it was freezing cold. Actually, it was really quite scary I had a little double, a real lion tamer. He was actually a man, but he had my wig on. There was one shot where they really could not fake it and they actually wanted me to go in with the lion. There’s a split second shot of it in the film, the lion looked at me and I thought ‘Oh no, I don’t like the look of you!’ I guess now they wouldn’t allow that because of safety rules.

Tell me about The Frightened City

Sean Connery starred with me. I had worked with Sean before in Action of the Tiger. I actually starred in that one, I had my name above the title! I saw it recently and it was really quite a good film. I remember going to Marble Arch in London to see it because my name was up there, we were very young and seeing my name up in lights was so exciting.

In 1960 you made your Hammer debut in Curse of the Werewolf. How did you come to be involved in that?

I think I auditioned for it. In those days I wasn’t very well known and you auditioned for everything. I played a deaf mute! I told them to send me the script and there were no lines. But in fact it was a very telling little part.

Did you know James Carreras?

He was very nice man. I think it’s really sad there’s nothing like Hammer anymore. It was like a repertory company, same people, same places. The little studio at Bray was lovely. Working for Hammer was like working for a family. Also, the cooking there was great, best apple pie I’ve ever had I my life!

Who played the younger version of you inthe film?

My cousin Loraine. They were trying to find somebody who looked like me as a little girl and she did.

Were you ever under contract to Hammer?

No. I was just very lucky that as I finished the one film.

The scene where Richard Wordsworth attacks you is now rather celebrated amongst horror fan.

Really? Oh dear! It was quite a nasty little scene. It was really rather frightening. I was always fighting off people in films. It was all I ever did!

What was Oliver Reed like?

He was so dashing. He was very handsome, stunningly beautiful. He had these extraordinary eyes.

Your role in Captain Clegg was probably your biggest?

Yes. I played Peter Cushing’s daughter. I got on very well with Peter. I loved him. We went on location to Black Park, which doubled for absolutely everywhere in those films. I was thrown into the icy water in Curse of the werewolf in period costume. How I didn’t sink, I’ll never know. It was in the middle of November when they chucked me in I didn’t know then I had my rights…

Then Devil Doll, which was a tad more glamorous

I got to dance in that too. It was really a remake of Dead of Night, and a rather bad remake at that. There was a scene where my dress was supposed to be ripped off. It was a bit racy for those days. It’s very different today but I really didn’t want to do that. That was for the ‘continental version’. That’s what they always said, ‘Oh, but this is for the continental version.’

No glamour in Brigand of Kandahar

Oliver Reed starred in that too. And Ronald Lewi. Is he dead now? I think he is. All my leading men have snuffed it, it’s terrible.

Then there was an American movie called The Swinger with Ann Margret

I had a really good part in that. It was supposed to be the sexiest scene ever where Ann Margret was dragged across a canvas naked, or supposedly naked. It was so pathetic really, but it was supposed to be the ultimate thing in the swinging sixties.

Then Double Trouble with Elvis Presley

Although I had a great part, it was a dreadful movie. But it was very exciting meeting Elvis. He was very slim and handsome. But just five years later when Joan Collins and I went to see him in Vegas he was just this huge man. It was a shame, really tragic, he was a sweet man.